Nintendo Power #257 - Returning to Nintendo Power after Five Years

Nintendo Power 257 CoverSo there's absolutely nothing nostalgic about discussing the latest issue of Nintendo Power, but since I haven't subscribed to the magazine in over five years, I thought I would talk about how much has changed.  Apparently, a lot has, or I just changed.  Either way, a year subscription just $5 on Amazon a few weeks ago, so I figured for less than 50 cents an issue I would be a fool not to sign up.  My last issue of Nintendo Power before this was from May 2005, issue 191.  The Nintendo DS was on that volume's cover as the second big round of games was rolling in including Nintendogs and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow.

But this article is about the August 2010 issue featuring Dragon Quest IX on the cover.  Being a Nintendo published game this isn't much of a shock, but there were both pleasant and unpleasant surprises on just about every page.  I'll cover a few I consider noteworthy.

I will probably never do such a new magazine ever again as I much prefer to reminisce about old school stuff, but this should be fun either way.

The Cover

Honestly, it's a very appealing and slick looking cover with just the single Dragon Quest IX hero in the middle on a gold background.  The art is obviously from Toriyama and if I were a fan of something like Dragonball Z and saw this in a bookstore, I'd probably pick it up to check it out.  The classic Dragon Quest blue slime adorns the hole in the letter 'R' of POWER and it admittedly looks cute.  The cover also promises articles on Epic Mickey, Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Okamiden, Super Scribblenauts, and Driver San Francisco; not a bad lineup at all!

On the back cover is a mean looking dragon from Dragon Quest, also on a gold background. It's nice that it's not just another ad.  Actually, speaking of ads, there are very few ads in the entire magazine.  I count only seven ads in the entire magazine, and most of those are just more Nintendo Power ads.  The only one that really seems out of place is an anti-drug ad.  Doing well so far in my book.

Oh, inside the first page is art from Dragon Quest IX, on the left page are the different characters you can create and their classes, and on the right page are some select monsters from the game.


Super Mario Galaxy 2 Throwback GalaxyPulse is Nintendo Power's letter section along with a bit other reader interaction.  One of the letters notes the writer's glee when he played the Throwback Galaxy in Super Mario Galaxy 2.  For the unaware, Nintendo recreated Whomp's Fortress (second level in Super Mario 64) for the game and a lot of people got super excited about it.  In my opinion, this was a disappointing level as Mario from 2010 is a lot more agile than Mario from 1996.  The level was too easy and it looked pretty junky compared to the levels before and after it because of its simplicity.  Oh well, back to the letters.

I guess there's been an ongoing debate on if you temporarily erased your memories of playing games in the past, which game would you want to replay first to relive that "first time" experience all over again?  The reader says he would replay Pokemon Silver, which seems like a legitimate answer, but then one of the editors says he would replay Twilight Princess. Ugh.  That's really your best answer?

Okay, now we get to the really messed up part: The Score.  This is where readers voted on certain topics and Nintendo Power prints the statistics.  Here's the one that annoys me the most: "Which Nintendo slogan is your favorite?" Wii would like to play; Now you're playing with Power; Get N or Get Out; Life, Advanced; or Play it Loud!  Guess which one won?  Yes, Wii would like to play, the crappiest, most creepiest slogan ever.  All I can think about when I hear that are those two weird Japanese guys standing at my doorstep bowing to me.  Play it Loud! actually took last. Last!  That slogan was awesome!  Kids these days...

Another annoying poll is "What matters most in a game?" A great story, innovation, great controls, great graphics.  Readers actually voted "A great story" which probably explains why Nintendo continually excels at inserting horribly, awful, plodding stories into all their games even though they don't need them!

Dragon Quest IX and more

Dragon Quest 9 Male Female Warrior artWhile I'm already well into the game already, it was still interesting to read the eight page featurette of Dragon Quest IX.  There's a couple of catchy headlines like The Fellowship of the Fygg and Combat Evolved.  If I wasn't already playing the game, I'd want to play it, so I guess the article/ad was effective.  Nintendo has a lot of money invested in DQ9 and needs to sell a ton of this game to get it back.

I honestly didn't know Driver San Francisco was heading for the Wii until I read this magazine, which has me intrigued.  Had no idea the system would be able to handle an open-world city game like Driver, will the traffic be really sparse?  I was pretty excited after seeing this game at E3 but don't remember a mention of the Wii.

Okamiden is the last major preview and for obvious reasons, DS games do not look good when blown up on paper.  There is an interview with the producer though that pretty much confirms the fact they're not trying a lot of new ideas with the portable sequel.  Not that that's a bad thing though, Okami was great, except for its first hour.

More features

Captain Falcon

For some reason, the issue features a two page spread on everyone's favorite unexpected puncher, Captain Falcon.  It covers four of his games along with the high and low points of his career, with his two high points being Super Smash Bros. appearances.  I know that they're supposed to be funny, but this guy started out as a racer and his only career highs are from fighting games?

Warp Zone

Nintendo Power dives 5, 10, and 20 years into their past to look at what games they were covering, I guess I'm not surprised they've been around 20 years already!  August 1990 had Ninja Gaiden II on the cover, actually, it was the entire magazine.  Back in those days, every other issue was a strategy guide for one game.  I wonder what this one was like: "DON'T DIE!"

Ten years ago introduced Waluigi in Mario Tennis 64 and five years ago featured Mario Kart DS.  They also had the gall to write this line: "Nintendo was committing to online gaming in a major way."

Play Back

The magazine takes another blast to the past by covering Final Fantasy Adventure again, aka Secret of Mana 0, aka Seiken Densetsu 1.  Squaresoft thought it would be best to market this action slasher as a Final Fantasy title and it probably worked.  I remember seeing this game at Wal-Mart every time I went there in its plain, ugly packaging and wanting to get it every time.